SimCity 2000 remake ‘Open SC2K’ infringing EA copyright

An ‘open source’ remake of SimCity 2000 has been removed following a take-down request by games developer Electronic Arts (EA), who claimed that the game used certain assets – their audiovisual artwork specifically – that were subject to copyright protection.

After the takedown request was made the host website, GitHub, immediately removed the infringing content. There is little issue with this, as EA were well within their rights to make such a request, but the developer, Nicholas Ochoa, did state he was disappointed that he was not firstly contacted by the website informing him of what was to happen.

Ochoa has said he intends to get the game back into his possession, as much of the code was his own work and thus not subject to copyright, and eventually upload a version without the copyrighted assets.

Interestingly, Ochoa acknowledged the potential for copyright infringement prior to publishing the game he labelled as ‘open source’. A statement of his that came with the game highlighted his rather naïve hope that no action would be taken against him because, he argued, “the game has been made freely available at various points in time by EA, and because it’s 24 years old as of publishing”. Thus, it may be that Ochoa is fortunate to only have his game removed from the website with no further compensatory action, as it is clear he had knowledge of the potential for infringement upon uploading his game such knowledge is required in order for a claimant to pursue damages.

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